Beyond storytelling: 3 steps to enhance brand ‘storymaking’

by | Sep 6, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

The epitome of public relations is to facilitate earned media and inbound web traffic. It’s about sharing customer stories to add value to your brand. This is the big differentiator between “storymaking” and “storytelling.” Marketers are moving away from storytelling, with its one-way broadcast mindset, and working with customers to share authentic stories about product experiences.

As a follow-up to our How to Be a Storymaker post, here are some best practices you can pursue to get storymaking initiatives off the ground:

Be empathetic

When exploring storymaking opportunities, focus on what your readers want to see, even if there is no direct selling point for your product. Listen to your clients, prospects and employees. Make it a point to understand and consider what they are saying about your brand, their own success stories, and even industry trends.

Inviting your audience to share ideas is the next step. Make a portion of your campaign dependent on people expressing their ideas about your brand. This will appeal to those sharing their stories, as well as to those who look for a first-hand experience when shopping for a product or service. It also means that your communications strategy must be adaptable. Everyone has their own experience with your product or service. To succeed in storymaking, accept the fact that stories may go in unforeseen directions and plan to guide conversations where appropriate.

Beyond storytelling: 3 steps to enhance brand ‘storymaking’   Image source: David Berkowitz, Chief Strategy Officer for Sysomos (slide 18 of this slideshow)

Make it digital

The online world is your greatest resource for garnering unique stories from across the globe. Harness the power of open idea sharing—storymaking often starts by following the folks who are sharing positive aspects of your brand. Ultimately, this can lead to fan-inspired content that is pushed out on digital media to grow your reach and influence.

Storymaking also requires unleashing your brand’s authentic voice by letting your customers be heard through initiatives such as ambassador programs. An official program shines the light on testimonials that your customers are already sharing through their social media, blogs, and videos. Your product gains awareness, and customers are able to share the most enticing aspects of your products or services with a wider audience.

Be creative

It’s important not to lose sight of your brand identity when gathering customer stories and ideas. Determine how a testimonial or story will reinforce your business goals. Focus on adding value by listening to audience wants and needs.

Your fans want to share your content – make that as easy as possible. Photo contests, surveys or idea submissions encourage customers to share their experiences, and present the perfect opportunity to empower your advocates.

Ultimately, the purpose of storymaking is to collaborate on ideas and messages that delight your audience. Storymaking is authentic and generates trust in a way that storytelling can’t. Take a fresh approach to your brand messaging and begin your storymaking initiative in your next campaign!

Charlene Blohm
Charlene Blohm is the president and founder of C. Blohm & Associates (CB&A), the premier PR and marketing agency for the education and special needs markets. She has more than 30 years’ experience in the communications field creating visibility campaigns. Follow her on Twitter @CharleneBlohm.


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